IRL: Texas II: Qualifying report

Castroneves Earns Pole Position at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas, Friday, Oct. 15, 2004 -- Helio Castroneves claimed his fourth consecutive IRL IndyCar® Series MBNA Pole Award, earning the MBNA Pole Award for the Chevy 500k at Texas Motor ...

Castroneves Earns Pole Position at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas, Friday, Oct. 15, 2004 -- Helio Castroneves claimed his fourth consecutive IRL IndyCar® Series MBNA Pole Award, earning the MBNA Pole Award for the Chevy 500k at Texas Motor Speedway.

Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, recorded a lap of 24.2504 seconds, 215.996 mph to tie Billy Boat's 1998 record for consecutive pole positions. It was Castroneves' fifth pole of the season and ninth of his IndyCar Series career.

Tomas Scheckter will start second after recording a lap of 24.2690 seconds, 215.831 mph in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.


HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): (What did you think when you saw your speed on the warm-up lap?): "I thought, 'Whoa! It's too fast -- I should wait a little bit. What guys. Marlboro Team Penske is awesome. We've been working extremely hard together, and obviously, Toyota has been working hard, as well." (You have four consecutive poles. Can you believe it?): "No, actually. I can't believe it right now. I'm pinching myself. What a great result. Four in a row -- it's just awesome. I couldn't do it without this fantastic team. These guys are phenomenal. That's for (them). They deserve it. Hopefully, tomorrow we're going to climb the fence. We've been looking very close, so we're getting there."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "I really take my hat off to Chevrolet. It's come down to the end of the season, the champion's already decided, and they're still pushing this hard. It's great for Chevrolet, it's great for this team, and it's great for this crew." (What would it mean to you to win at Texas?): "It would mean a massive, massive amount. I think it would give a positive feeling for the team. For me, it would really, really make the off-season a lot smoother."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "It was OK. We did the speed we expected to do. We worked on race stuff. It's tough when you have to qualify on the first day (of the race weekend). I feel I've got a good car. I feel we will be able to run in traffic on Sunday, and that's the important thing."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "The run was pretty good. We had a delay in qualifying, and then the wind picked up more than we thought, but overall, it was a good run. (Teammate) Vitor (Meira) and I are right together, and we were the fastest Hondas today. I'd like to be the fastest Honda on Sunday, too. It would be nice to finish off with four wins in the season. Having the most wins of any driver this year and winning the Indy 500 would be a great season for our team and myself. The race is going to be pretty much like in June. We'll run in big packs and look to be in position in the last 20 laps. It's Texas, and it's always wild with the packs (of cars) and two and three wide. I expect it to be another shootout for the finish."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/ Honda/Firestone): "To be next to your teammate is good for us. We are able to work to together, and we trust each other like you saw at Kansas. I'm just really thankful for the chance that Rahal Letterman (Racing) and Centrix gave me this year. It has been my best year in the IRL, and I hope we can come back in 2005 and do even better. Qualifying gives you a good starting position and gets you out of the mess of the middle and back of the pack. We have been good here in races before, and I think we'll be good on Sunday. I have been looking for my first win in the IRL and to win here in the last race would be great. It would be fantastic to end the year with a win. You could celebrate all the way through the holidays, too."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "I came out of the pits and immediately I knew the No.1 Toyota (Panoz) G Force wasn't quite the way we needed it to be, so I came right back in and the Target crew made the adjustments we needed. It was pretty loose out there, but I was hoping to get a little more out of it. Toyota has made some very good gains recently, so I feel fairly good about our ability to fight for the win this weekend. A win here would definitely go a long way to helping us feel better about a pretty tough year and set the tone for this winter's preparations for next season. I expect it to be a wild race. With nothing major at stake for anyone, it will be a true battle for the checkered and a cool set of Texas boots. It should be fun."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "Our qualifying run wasn't too bad. We were quicker than we expected, and we'll be starting in the front on Sunday. The key thing is that we've got a really good, comfortable race car. We just need to stay out of trouble and be in the right position for the final lap shootout. It would be ideal to finish the season with a victory. We won the opener in Homestead, and it would be great for everyone at Marlboro Team Penske who has been working so hard to finish with a win."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We're not worried about staying ahead of Buddy (Rice), we're just worried about winning the race, and the rest will take care of itself. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam team is working hard, Honda has been very strong, and we want to get into victory lane one more time this year."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I had an OK qualifying lap. During practice, I didn't work on qualifying at all. I was working on my race setup. We know that we have no problem taking the Team 7-Eleven car from the back to the front, so wherever we start from, we'll be running up front, for sure. I know that we have a very great race car, and between the four of us, the entire team looks pretty strong for Sunday's race. I just really want to see my teammates, Dan (Wheldon) and Dario (Franchitti), finish second and fifth in the championship."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone): ""We qualified on the pole pretty easily during the June race, and it was a lot harder today. We ran a similar setup to what we ran then, but the speeds are up a lot. There is something like a 2.5 mile-an-hour difference between my speed and the pole speed. I don't think you can attribute that to the wind, but I think we'll still be pretty competitive on race day."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "There's only one race left, and Sam (Hornish Jr.) is the only guy we can catch in the points chase. We haven't changed anything that we've done all year, we just want to win a race and finish on a high note. The XM Satellite Radio crew has a good car here, and we're looking forward to the race."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Chip Ganassi , Jim Beam
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing